Farmer 'bloody lucky' after four cows killed by lightning

A Hamilton farmer says he and his boss had a lucky escape after four of their cows were struck by lightning and killed.

Thunderstorms lashed parts of the North Island this morning, particularly Auckland.

More than 1800 lightning strikes were recorded in the region by the Metservice with 148 hitting the ground.

On a farm on Onion Road just out of Hamilton, herd manager James Miles said he was "bloody lucky" not to have been struck by the storm.

He and his boss, the farm owner, joked about going home because of the risk of getting hit by lightning as they sent their cows on their way from milking.

"Little did we know that maybe we shouldn't have been making those little jokes because it very easily could have been our last trips up that race because we were only five or 10 minutes away from following those cows.

"I got a call back from the boss say 'turn off the power as fast as you can, we've had four cows struck by lightning and I hope that's it."

He said the cows were a big loss for them.

"It must have hit one of them and forked off on to the other couple."

He said they couldn't be used for animal feed and they'd arranged for them to be picked up by a disposal company.

"We were bloody lucky to be honest.

"When I went down there and I took the video I was a little bit shaken myself and I rang the boss's wife when I got home and I said 'I'm a bit bloody nervous to go outside' but at the end of the day it did clear up a bit and of course we've got a lot to do.

He said he wasn't the only one counting his lucky stars.

"We actually have a contractor on the farm cleaning some council drains and they said they saw a lightning bolt hit about 40 metres away from them in the paddock.

"They were in a digger with the boom fully extended. So he was very lucky also."

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